7 Keys to Psalm 117

By Rick Kelley
Introduction: Seven powerful words from the shortest Psalm, the mid-point of the Bible.
#1: Praise
                a. The beginning, the ending and the point, of the Psalm
                b. Not only that, but Praise is the beginning, the ending, and the point of the Psalms
                c. The Psalms are, by and large, prayers, petitions, and praises to God.
                d. Praise is perhaps the one thing humanity can offer to God that God cannot offer to Himself, and which God cannot extract from us.

Continue reading

#praise, #psalms, #sermon-outline

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4-24-2017 Self-Praise Is No Praise

“Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, Than he who honors himself but lacks bread” (Proverbs 12:9 NKJV). A loyal “servant” knows his master, and serves, regardless of circumstance or outside opinion. Being “slighted” by others should not discourage a person from being honorable and respected at home. However, acting like things are better than they actually are is an exercise in hypocrisy and self-deceit! Putting up a front of self-honor when the facts are he “lacks bread” makes life look like a stage setting, all image and no substance. Self-praise is NO praise! Proverbs 27:2 (NKJV): “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” We expect our parents and grandparents to “praise us,” so the emphasis here is “a stranger,” someone who is outside our family.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#hypocrisy, #praise, #self-deceit

Impoverished souls see nothing of value in the Bible

Some people look at the Bible and stand amazed at “the wealth of [God’s] kindness, forbearance, and patience” Rm 2.4 NET. It’s a humbling experience, one that, as Paul says, ought to lead us to the change of repentance.

Other people look at the Bible and see a bunch of stories with no meaning. It speaks more of the poverty of their souls than about the content of Scripture.

Some days ago I ran across a website that listed a huge, huge number of the greatest literary sentences of all time. Not a single Bible verse was included. If you can’t find at least one great literary sentence in all of the Bible, not only is your soul impoverished, but your sense of literature as well. Continue reading

#bible-as-literature, #chiasmus, #corollaries, #doxology, #praise, #self-organization

Of what does praise consist?

Praise focuses on the person of God and his actions. It is not a listing of one’s blessings. Praise details the character of God and follows his plan of redemption through history. It describes his nature and worships his work and word. Praise is personal, but not restricted to self, for it recognizes the purpose of God for all peoples and especially for the body of Christ. Continue reading

#god, #praise, #worship

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6-9-2015 Are You Double-Tongued?

Many people praise God and curse mankind with the same tongue. “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:9-10 NKJV). It is only because God, not Evolution, created us that humans should be treated with a dignity above animals. People who say, “Pets are humans, too” have elevated animals to having the image of God, and that is idolatry! They have “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25 NKJV). Because baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16), it is not for animals!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#animals, #baptism, #curse, #dignity, #evolution, #pets, #praise

How to start a prayer

What a great way to start a prayer! Solomon starts with the only God who is faithful. Continue reading

#obedience, #praise, #prayer

Doctrine: SONGS

It is common for churches to sing songs of praise to the Almighty, and we can see the wisdom of this. These songs of praise are to not only be accurate in the substance of the words sung, but they are to be sung with the singular design of pleasing the Lord, and not ourselves. That is not to say that we can’t be pleased in our singing, or even by the sound of it, but if that is our focus, then are we singing to ourselves? Moreover, when the Lord’s people meet to worship, the Lord’s people (or church) are to sing, not some specific, or exclusive, choir/chorus. It is of note that most churches of Christ do not use a mechanical instrument of music; this is on purpose. The Lord does not directly prohibit an instrument in the New Testament, but neither did He sanction one. Thus, to use one in the context of the church’s worship is to presume on the Lord’s prerogative. Let us not lose sight of what is important: our heart in direct connection to the Lord through the songs of praise we sing.

#praise, #singing, #songs, #worship

Let us praise the Lord!

A selection of Scriptures of praise has been added to the Old Paths Archive in English and Dutch, in text and audio. Continue reading

#praise, #worship

Prayer: Great, O Lord

Great, O Lord, is your kingdom, your power and your glory; great are your works, your wonders and your praises;; great also is your wisdom, your goodness, your justice and your mercy, and for all these we bless you and magnify your holy name, for ever and ever. Amen.

George Wither (1588-1667)

#praise, #prayer

victory

I was recently afforded the opportunity to perform in the Murfreesboro Symphony Chorus at a concert with the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra. I had been to orchestral performances many times before, and while they can be very exciting, they can also be a bit tiresome during some passages. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself waking up to the applause of the audience at the end of a piece. This one, however–almost every moment of it–was different.

Perhaps it was the acoustics–the reverberation in the venue; perhaps it was the one or two thousand faces focused in on the stage; perhaps it was being able to see the conductor’s face for once instead of his back; perhaps it was getting to be part of a group of incredible singers to which I felt inferior; perhaps it was the beauty of the music, much of which was written by one of the best-known composers of our time. As I sang with the choir, or simply sat and listened as the orchestra played alone, excitement flowed through me like electricity during almost the entire concert. Every solo, every climax, every quiet passage, every pause created a sensation I could feel, not only in my mind and heart, but in my body. Here was a group of some of the best musicians (and me) performing excellent music by one of the most well-regarded modern composers on some of the finest instruments in a superb venue, led by one of the most talented conductors in our region. Every person there (on stage and in the audience) was focused on one thing–the music. Being in the midst of the ensemble provided for one of the most intense musical experiences I’ve ever had.

Revelation 14, 15, and 19 have descriptions of multitudes of people and angels singing praise to God. I’m afraid sometimes we think of that image and liken it to our local congregational singing, which–like any other thing we do on a regular basis–can often seem less than thrilling. Continue reading

#assembly, #book-of-revelation, #christianity, #heaven, #music, #orchestral-music, #praise, #revelation, #singing, #worship

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(#54) The Proverbs of Solomon 12:9-Who Has Bragging Rights?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 12:9: “Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.”

A loyal “servant” knows his master, and serves, regardless of circumstance or outside opinion. Being “slighted” by others should not discourage a person from being honorable and respected at home. However, acting like things are better than they actually are is an exercise in hypocrisy and self-deceit! Being proud when there is nothing of which to be proud is despicable. Putting up a front of self-honor when the facts are he “lacks bread” makes life look like a stage setting, all image and no substance. Self-praise is NO praise! “Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit” (Proverbs 25:16). “It is not good to eat much honey; So to seek one’s own glory is not glory” (Proverbs 25:27). Too much of a sweet thing is sickening, and so is it to be around those who praise themselves! It is one thing to receive the accolades of one’s peers, but quite another to be acknowledged by those outside of our personal sphere. Another proverb teaches this: Proverbs 27:2: “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” We expect our parents and grandparents to “praise us,” so the emphasis here is “a stranger,” someone who is outside our family. It is even more pathetic to be around someone who cannot get recognition without self-promotion! An untreatable medical condition is caused by the sprained elbow of people patting themselves on their own backs! How pitiful is it for the best opinion about someone to be from that person! Even Jesus Christ had others who bore witness of Him (John 5:31-47) to show that “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.”

Jesus Christ said to His disciples concerning people in the world: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). “The world would love its own” is Jesus’ way of saying the worldly-minded will always support each other by propping up everyone who thinks like they do, and verbally or physically attack all righteous people who will not conform to their standards! Christians should not expect former “friends” to be encouraging: “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:3-5).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #bragging-rights, #hypocrisy, #peers, #practical-lessons, #praise, #proverbs, #self-deceit, #self-praise, #wisdom

Will God Praise Me?

One of the reasons why Facebook and other social media can be so valuable is that my brothers in Christ often give me such great ideas there.

 One afternoon, I was working on a sermon using 1 Corinthians 4:5 as a text. The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”

Bro. Jimmy Wren Sr. read the verse and offered me a thought that enriched my study so much. He wrote, “A question: What if God praises you the same way you praise Him?”

My brother is so right, and gave me a powerful thought. What if, at the judgment seat of Christ, God praises me the same way I praised him while I was on this earth? Would there be effusive praise, or silence? Would I see my tears of happiness and thanksgiving because of my praises to God, or would I see my indifference and my neglect?

What will you hear? Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad,” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV). What will I hear from God on that day?

What about you? 

#god, #judgment, #praise

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Psalm 147 Jehovah is God – And We’re NOT!

These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

Verse 1 calls for praise;

Verses 2-6 give Israelite outcasts reasons to praise God;

Verse 7 calls for praise;

Verses 8-11 give those who fear Him reasons to praise God;

Verse 12 calls for Israelites to praise God;

Verses 13-18 call attention to God’s absolute Power;

Verses 19-20 call Israelites’ attention to God’s special Word to them.

Verse 1: Sing “Hallelujah” because it is “good,” “pleasant,” “beautiful.”

Verses 2-6: Jehovah “builds up Jerusalem” by making sure the “outcasts” are included. These are people who might be rejected by the religious snobs and overlooked for blessings. Verses 2-3 describe the work of Jesus Christ when He came (Jeremiah 30:10-17; Luke 4:16-20). God can account for all of Israel’s “outcasts” because only He knows the number, but also the name, of the stars. With all of today’s technologies, humans haven’t even seen all of the stars, yet! Although God is “great,” “mighty in power,” infinite in “understanding,” He compassionately “lifts up the humble,” but does not do the same for “the wicked.”

Verse 7: Praise should be sung, and the instruments of David left behind, for the only instrument that should accompany worship singing today is “your heart” (Ephesians 5:19).

Verses 8-11: The Earth follows God’s physical rules, as those who “fear Him” follow His spiritual rules: from cloud coverings come rain; from rain comes grass on mountains; from grass (greenery) comes food for beasts and ravens asking. God’s pleasure is not in the strength of horses or men’s legs, but “in those who hope in His mercy.”

Verse 12: Israel, whose capital of Jerusalem, was also its’ worship center, Zion, is alerted to “praise your God.”

Verses 13-18: A God-blessed nation has: 1) strong “bars” of its “gates.” Aren’t we talking about keeping out illegal immigrants, outsiders who corrupt, and disguised terrorists? A godless society has no limits! 2) blessed “children,” and this is not discussing their toys, games, sports, or other distractions, but genuine faith. 3) internal “peace,” and this is not with martial law, or a police state, but citizens with faithful obedience to God’s moral Law; 4) abundant harvest, because God has made the land cooperate and bless (Acts 14:14-17). It is by God’s Command that the Earth is blessed with: “snow,” “frost,” “hail,” “cold,” “melting,” blowing wind, and flowing water!

Verses 19-20: God gave the Israelites (including Jews!) the advantage of “His Word,” including His “statutes” and “judgments.” That Word should have lead them all the way to Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 4:5; Leviticus 26:40-46; Malachi 4:4; Galatians 3:7-29). No other nation ever had that advantage of specific written revelation through prophets, and yet when Jesus came, “although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him” (John 12:37). Paul asked the question: “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:1-4). God had given the Jews the advantage of having His Word first. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Having God’s Word, knowing it, and obeying it is our advantage, today. Jesus said: “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).

“Praise the LORD” or “Hallelujah!”

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #praise, #salvation, #singing, #worship

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Psalm 144 How To Live In A Happy State

 This Psalm of David shows why God saw David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). This Psalm is from a heart that knows what God’s grace and mercy is all about!

Verses 1-2 acknowledge who is with David on his throne over Israel;

Verses 3-4 recognize how short the rule of a man is compared to God’s reign;

Verses 5-10 show who really deserves praise for victory over enemies;

Verses 11-15 summarize where a nation’s blessings and strengths come from.

Verses 1-2: “The LORD” was David’s “Rock” not a castle. God guided David’s conquests; God showed what “lovingkindness” was like in between battles; David’s “fortress” (protective dwelling), “high tower” (lofty position above the enemy), “shield” (protection against soldiers’ attacks) and “refuge” (safe haven), were all in God. Thus if David’s “people” didn’t obey God, David wouldn’t be king of a nation! Would that Governments recognized this today (John 19:10-11)!

Verses 3-4: “What is man” is the question David asks that shows great humility (Psalm 8:4). What makes us think we are so important that God would notice us? We are important not because of what we have done, but what God has done (Hebrews 2:17-18)! We do not live long enough to be impressive (James 4:13-15).

Verses 5-10: God, however, is so impressive that He can “come down” over the Earth; make mountains smoke; use lightning strikes; all as weapons of war “from above.” It is God “from above” who “rescues” the righteous from a flood of “foreigners” hurling “lying words” and lying handshakes.  Those who serve God cannot expect those who do not to be following the same rules in the same way! Christian behavior is not universal, but should be (Ephesians 5:1-17)! It is God who deserves praise for our salvation and daily life. The “harp of ten strings” was an instrument of David (1 Chronicles 23:5) which appealed to the spiritually lazy (Amos 6:3-7) and was condemned. No man-made musical instrument was authorized by Moses’ Law.

Verses 11-15: It would be by God’s rescue that the Nation of Israel would have: sturdy “sons” and “daughters;” plentiful “produce” and “sheep” and “oxen;” and no external raids nor internal struggles. A nation of people who respect God, will have “sons” who mature like plants and know their work to be done; “daughters” who accept their role of “pillars” as wife and mother; “produce” for people who know how to save for the next crop; fertile “sheep;” “oxen” useful for burdens; peaceful living without disruptiveness. Truly such a nation is “happy,” for “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” The plague of America is unhappiness, and it has become pandemic because people do not have the LORD God. “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:1-3). “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). DO YOU KNOW GOD?

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #church-of-christ, #enemies, #fortress, #god, #government, #happy, #heaven, #heavens, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #praise, #prayer, #refuge, #rock, #salvation, #singing, #unhappiness, #worship

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Psalm 138 God’s Name Works

A Psalm of David that is so typical of David’s other Psalms, full of praise to God.

Verses 1-2 God’s Name is worshiped above all gods;

Verses 3-5 God’s Name is glorified above all kings;

Verses 6-8: God’s Name reaches to all people.

Verses 1-2: (Verse 1) Praise to God should include the “whole heart” out of which we “sing praises.” David, with all the musical instruments introduced by him into worship, felt praise involved singing from the heart, in spite of others’ “gods.” In the New Testament, Christians should, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). (Verse 2) What God has done in “lovingkindness” and “truth” distinguish Him above all.

Verses 3-5: (Verse 3) David’s boldness came from God’s answering His pleas. No proof of God’s care is better than experience, and hindsight is always 20/20! (Verse 4) “Kings of the earth” quickly learn Jehovah God is mightier than they are. (Verse 5) When defeated, even they join in God’s praises (Example Daniel 4).

Verses 6-8: (Verse 6) God never loses sight of, or sensitivity toward, “the lowly.” No one is too minute or insignificant but that God will hear. But “the proud” God recognizes from “afar,” that is, God doesn’t need to have them close to know how to deal with them. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). (Verse 7) “In the midst of trouble” God “revives” (refreshes), extends a protecting “hand,” offers His “right hand” to “save.” Since Jesus said God is “spirit” (John 4:24) which has no “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39), then all references to God’s “body” of physical characteristics obviously are figures of speech designed to help us understand Him. (Verse 8) God looks better to our cares than we can, which is why we should cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He does this out of His “mercy” which “endures forever.” “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #gods-name, #obedience, #praise, #prayer, #proud, #singing, #worship